Explore The Treasures Of An Enchanted Ambleside Garden

18 January 2022

Not many people know about Stagshaw Gardens, even though it’s a short distance from the A591 road and the bustling village of Ambleside.

It’s often quiet and wonderfully empty for such a beautiful place.

Situated right next to Skelghyll Woods, its entrance is almost hidden, making it seem all the more magical when you enter it. And that’s exactly how it feels once you get there – magical.

Beautiful beginning

It was created by Cubby Acland, who, according to The National Trust website, was a former land agent in 1957.

With his incredible vision and eye for detail, heplanted the gardens as a feast for the eyes and senses.

You can see his incredible talent as you wander along the paths, arranging unusual plants and shrubs to create blocks of colour, and using the foliage as his paint palette to design a garden that would become a tranquil escape.

In fact, he did just that. Using different species of camellias, he arranged them like an artist’s paint palette, even including the thumb hole! 

Bask in magnificent surroundings

The overall effect of the gardens is one of enchantment, as if you’ve wandered into a secret garden and aren’t quite sure you should be there - but you absolutely should.

The garden is filled with more than 300 shrubs, all carefully arranged. Rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias nestle among the woodland, and if you can plan your visit to catch them in flower, then you’re really in for a treat!

In spring, carpets of bluebells and daffodils are a delight to witness, and in early summer, the rhododendrons are a riot of colour with their sweet scent embracing you as you walk toward them.

Enjoy the incredible colours of the trees in the autumn months, as the dappled sunlight dances on their russet leaves.

Gorgeous landscapes

There are a few benches on the way round for a well-deserved rest. At the top of the gardens, the trail connects to the path toward Jenkins Crag, a viewpoint that boasts breathtaking views across the lake.

It’s a steep path through the woods, but worth getting out of breath for. Just be careful not to go too close to the edge of the rocks.

The remoteness is a true wake up call: it’s just you and the gardens, so go prepared, and as always with Lake District weather, be ready for the rain.

But even a downpour couldn’t stop your enjoyment of this lovely garden, the plants and calming stillness you’ll experience.

Stagshaw Gardens has a soothing atmosphere which is something of a marvel considering how close it is to the main tourist areas, and that in itself is a wonderful treat.